How to Clean a Stained Fabric Lampshade: A DIY Guide

A stained lampshade can cause your lamp to not shine brighter. It can look ugly.

I know you have been enjoying light from your lamp for a while now and you can’t do without your lamp especially in the night. You no more have to worry about having a drink in the night or having a quick read of your favorite novel.

But you notice one blemish. And when your lamp becomes bright at night, the blemish becomes even more pronounced. You see stains or dust on the fabric of your lampshade. You begin to notice that the light coming from your lamp is not as bright as it used to be.

I understand how you feel. You can’t wait to see your lampshade sparkling clean again. However, this fabric is not shaped like your normal clothes. You want to clean it without the lampshade losing shape.

The common lampshade fabrics are silk, linen, cotton, burlap, etc. You also have to use a detergent that will prevent your lampshade from fading.

If you want to make your lampshade clean again, you have come to the right place because that is what this post is going to teach you. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to get the dirt off your lampshade and then you can enjoy the look of your lamp and a brighter light once again.

I’ll be explaining 4 methods you can use to clean your lampshade.

What are the things you need?

  • A large bucket, sink, or bathtub: this will serve as the container where you will clean your lampshade.

  • Laundry detergent: this is the cleaning agent that will remove dirt from the lampshade.

  • Warm water: it also helps in cleaning as it removes dirt and oil faster than cold water.

  • Soft sponge: it will be used to rub your lampshade. A soft one is needed to protect the fabric of your lampshade.

  • Whisk: this is used to turn your detergent and water solution to form a lather.

  • Clean, absorbent towel: it is used to remove moisture from your lampshade after cleaning it to avoid the formation of a watermark on the lampshade.

  • Rubber or latex gloves: this is used to protect your hands from reactions with the soapy solution.

1st Method

  1. First of all, you have to remove the lampshade from the lamp as you can’t wash it on the lamp due to its non-washable parts. It is best to take the shade off its metal frame of the lamp too so that you have the lampshade alone.

  2. Fill your bathtub, or sink, or clean bucket, whatever container you want to use, with enough warm water that will be able to take your lampshade fully.

  3. After doing this, you need to add a little laundry detergent to the warm water. A capful of the detergent will be enough for this. Wear your rubber gloves to avoid reaction of your hand with the detergent.

  4. Dip your lampshade into the solution. You have to hold the lampshade in the solution as some may naturally float in the liquid. You will be able to see the stain clearly when you do this.

  1. Take your soft sponge and gently rub it around your lampshade to remove the dirt and dust that has stained it. You must be careful while doing this because you don’t want to apply too much force and get your lampshade torn while washing it.

  2. After this, rinse the lampshade thoroughly to remove the soap. Use a thick towel to remove as much moisture from it as possible. This is to prevent any watermark while the liquid is dripping through it.

  3. Hang it somewhere dry or warm so that you can get it dry as soon as possible. It is advisable to dry your lampshade indoors because exposing it to too much sunlight could cause the color to fade.

  4. Fix your lampshade when it is dry and you’re good to go.

2nd Method

  1. This method is similar to the first method but could be more applicable if you feel the fabric of your lampshade is delicate. Remove your lampshade.

  2. Fill your bathtub, or sink, or clean bucket with enough warm water that will be able to submerge your lampshade.

  3. Add a little laundry detergent to the warm water. Wear your rubber gloves to avoid reaction of your hand with the detergent.

  4. After getting your solution, dip your lampshade into the warm water. The difference here is that you don’t need a sponge to utilize this method.

  5. After dipping your lampshade fully into the water with the open end facing up, you gently lift it out of the warm water. While doing this, you’ll notice that the water is passing through the fabric as you lift it out.

  1. You dip the lampshade into the container again and take it out. You continue doing this until you notice the water is dirty. It means you have successfully removed some dirt from the lampshade.

  2. You pour the water away if in a container or allow it to flow through if it’s in a bathtub. Then you fill in the container again.

  3. You go to step 3 to 6 again.

  4. After doing this for a few times, you will notice that the water will be clean. This means you have successfully removed the dirt from your lampshade.

  5. Remove the lampshade and get it dried indoors or outdoors in an airy place.

You have to note, however, that this method may not be effective if your lampshade has a deep stain. It is efficient if you want to remove dust or light stains.

3rd Method

You can get the stains off your lampshade even without using a bowl or a bathtub. What you need instead is a spray bottle and vinegar.

  1. Remove your lampshade from the lamp.

  2. Add a little amount of detergent into the spray bottle and add warm water to the detergent.

  3. Spray your lampshade with the spray bottle. You can either spray the stained part alone or all the parts of the lampshade.

  1. Take your soft sponge and scrub the areas where you have the stains.

  2. After this, you empty the bottle and add a little amount of vinegar to the bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water.

  3. Spray the lampshade again and use your soft sponge to clean all the stained parts.

  4. Use a thick towel to pat the lampshade to remove excess moisture.

  5. Allow the lampshade to dry in an airy space. You can now enjoy your lampshade when it is dry.

4th Method

What if your lampshade has fabric on its outermost part but has a paper lining in its innermost part? Then it will be difficult to dip it inside the water as this would destroy the paper.

But you still can’t leave your lampshade stained. You can use this fourth method which requires a minimal use of water.

  1. Remove your lampshade from your lamp.

  2. Fill your bathtub, or sink, or clean bucket, with enough warm water to form a lather.

  3. Apply a little laundry detergent to the liquid, a capful is enough for this. Wear your rubber gloves to avoid any reaction of the detergent with your hand.

  4. Stir the solution until it forms a lather. You can either use your hand or a whisk to do this.

  5. Now you’ll take your soft sponge and scoop lather.

  6. You rub this lather gently on the outermost part of your lampshade. The lather is much drier than the soapy solution which means the paper is relatively safe.

  7. After this, you get clean water in another container and you dip your soft sponge in it.

  8. After cleaning your soft sponge, your squeeze it as hard as possible to remove most of the moisture in it.

  9. Rub the clean soft sponge on the outermost fabric of your lampshade.

  10. Hang it in an airy part of your house or use a drier. This is going to make sure that you get your lampshade clean without compromising the paper used to line the innermost part.


When you follow these procedures, you’ll be able to remove the stains on your lampshade without any stress. You may have been thinking that your lampshade is due for a change, maybe it just needs a bit of cleaning from you to regain its spark.

However, if you have doubt about your cleaning abilities or feel your lampshade is too delicate for your skills, it will be better if you take it to a professional dry cleaner to remove the stain for you. I believe this will still be a cheaper option than changing the lampshade itself.